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Published: Jan 10, 2013

Canines are sensitive, emotional creatures, and while this is part of what makes them so lovable, it can also lead them to have problems with anxiety. When a human experiences anxiety, he or she can simply express their frustrations to a loved one or a therapist, but canines cannot speak up and let you know what is troubling them. That's why, as a pet owner, you need to be on the lookout for the cause of anxiety in your dog. If you have been wracking your brain trying to figure out the root of your pet's issues, here are some potential catalysts that you may have overlooked.

Separation anxiety
Separation anxiety in dogs is one of the most common emotional issues among canines. The bond between a dog and his owner is very strong, and your pet may feel abandoned if he is forced to be apart from you for long periods of time. There are several ways to treat this issue, including crate training. Some dogs find a confined space to be comforting when they are alone. Others can benefit from being placed in a larger confined space, like a closed bedroom.

Window anxiety
Many dogs enjoy watching the world go by outside the window, and while this behavior is typically OK, it can sometimes cause dogs to worry. This is particularly a problem for canines who have certain fears that they encounter in the outside world, such as other dogs or automobiles. Hound dogs and terriers may also grow anxious if they see squirrels, birds or other small animals out the window, because they will want to chase them but be unable. If the window is a cause of anxiety in your pet, then it's best to keep shutters and blinds closed, at least while you're out of the home. 

Change-related anxiety
Canines enjoy consistency and reliability, so major changes can cause them to become anxious. Dogs may grow worried or confused if you add a new member of the family to your home, such as a spouse or baby. They might also be upset if you move or a younger member of the family goes away to college. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to ease anxieties from big life changes except be supportive of your canine and make sure he knows he'll always be loved and cared for.

When you can't pinpoint the cause
If you are still uncertain what is causing your dog's anxiety, it may be time to visit one of your local veterinarian hospitals for a checkup. Your pet's behavior may be indicative of a larger problem - pain in dogs can translate to emotional stress. Be sure to give your vet a thorough explanation of your canine companion's history with anxiety, and let him or her know of any other peculiar behaviors you've noticed since the problem began.